Book ReviewsThe Popes of Avignon: a century in exile

Book written by: Edwin Mullins. New York : BlueBridge. 256 pages. Hardcover. ISBN 9781933346151. $24.95. September 2008.


Avignon is a city in southern France that in the 14th century became the seat of the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Clement V, who became pope in 1305 did not feel well-protected in Rome and decided to move to a safer city. Edwin Mullins tells about the 70-year history of the papacy in Avignon which includes seven popes and the two anti-popes.


This is a fascinating history and told in an entertaining way.  Many of the Avignon popes were corrupt and their courtiers were also, but there was one saint, Urban V.


Mullins tells side stories connected with Avignon which include Dante, Petrarch and some famous and not so famous people. The author also includes photos of present day Avignon and a few historical images.


This book is highly recommended to those interested in the papacy or medieval history.


Edwin Mullins is an Oxford-educated writer, journalist, and filmmaker; who has published numerous books, including Cluny: in search of God’s lost empire (2006) which this reviewer has reviewed and found to be very good, and The Pilgrimage to Santiago (2000). He is a former art correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph and the Daily Telegraph, he also lives part of the year in Avignon

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